Interactions between small children and canines of any size should always be supervised, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be boring. While many breeds of large dog are naturally quite gentle with children such as the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Golden Retriever, and the Newfoundland, other breeds, such as the Great Dane and the Weimaraner, may be well-intentioned, but their natural exuberance may result in bumps and falls, particularly when these dogs are going through their gawky adolescent growth phases. In order to avoid injury to either your child or your large dog, children should be taught not to play by wrestling and not to use their hands as toys. The activities listed below may help to keep both kids and canines entertained and occupied throughout the day.
Hide and seek can be an entertaining game to play with any age child or any size dog. This is a good activity for large dogs as it typically does not encourage the dog to get overly physical, preventing bumps and falls, and it provides the canine with a positive association with the presence of the child or children. This particular game may also come in handy if you have a young child who is particularly prone to wandering. While this game is simple enough for most any dog to enjoy, it can be made more complex by choosing more difficult hiding places, increasing the number of hiders, or by adding twists and obstacles to the game.
In many cases, our canine companions have toyboxes full of chew toys, stuffed animals designed for dogs, rope toys, and fetch toys, and without training they naturally just leave them on the floor where they were last using them. Human children are not the only ones who are able to pick up after themselves, however, and it is often relatively easy to convince most dogs to pick up their toys and put them in a toy box, especially compared with teaching kids to do the same thing! This activity not only exercises your canine companion’s mind, it may help to encourage your children to pick up after themselves as well.
Gathering up your family, both two and four-legged and setting up an impromptu photoshoot can be a lot of fun and a great way to bond. While there are photo studios who will take pictures of your family and your dog for you, for many people there is a greater sense of satisfaction when looking back on pictures that they took themselves. Dogs are an important part of our families and when we are raised with dogs in our homes they often play huge roles in our emotional development. While this activity can be a lot of fun to do, its greatest value is often not seen until decades later.
Most of us remember the wonder of watching delicate spheres of soap floating into the sky and the joy of chasing a popping the bubbles, made all the more enjoyable by the unpredictable way that the bubbles moved through the air. Your dog will feel the same sense of joy when they are twisting, running, and jumping - trying to catch the elusive bubbles. Because dogs tend to catch the bubbles with their mouths rather than their paws, it may be best to use a homemade bubble solution made with non-toxic, pet safe soap, or to buy bubbles specifically formulated for canine use.
Geocaching is a worldwide outdoor treasure hunt where people use GPS tracking technology combined with skill and experience to locate containers filled with random surprises, and then add new surprises for the next player. Your dog will have a great time in the outdoors helping you find the elusive containers of goodies. Don't forget to add something fun, appropriate for all ages, and non-food related, in the cache for the next player.
Canines large and small require exposure to new activities and regular play sessions in order to maintain their physical and mental fitness. The activities listed here are designed to be fun for both canine and your family, but they also help to foster the bond with your canine and encourage your dogs critical thinking skills. Games that can include the entire family are an excellent way to encourage the development of bonding and empathy for both child and canine and can even teach them to work with others more effectively.